Taking out a loan can be daunting. It’s a big commitment that needs careful consideration and, more than anything, you need to ensure that you can afford the repayments.
However, if you do your research and are prepared for what you’re taking on, getting a loan could give you the freedom to make some huge changes; both at home and at work. Anything from buying a house to changing careers is possible, so why not see if taking out a loan can help you.
One of the biggest and most important loans that most people will take out is their mortgage. Allowing potential homeowners to borrow a considerable proportion of the money to purchase their new home, taking on a mortgage is life changing and long term.
Apart from the lucky few, almost everyone will have to take on some sort of mortgage when buying a property. Though it is a lot to take on, without this debt the majority of Brits would be left unable to afford to get on the property ladder and be left renting for the long term.
Since the recent property market turmoil, many people have been choosing to improve and renovate their homes instead of moving. Extensions and loft conversions have become commonplace as homeowners try to add value to their properties whilst creating a great space to live in for the meantime.
As home improvements can be expensive, many households choose to take out a loan in order to cover the costs. Depending on how much you need to borrow this could be a short-term loan or a loan secured against your home.
Another major reason for people taking out a loan is to pay for courses or training that will enhance their career prospects. Loans can be put towards covering tuition fees and living costs while you’re studying and most banks won’t ask you to start making repayments until after you’ve graduated so you can focus solely on your studies for the duration of the course.
Taking out a loan to cover purchases is fairly common, especially when it comes to expensive purchases like cars.
Although many dealerships offer finance deals, it’s often cheaper to use a loan to buy a car outright and then repay the bank over time. As with any loan, you need to ensure you can afford the repayments and always try to put in as much deposit as you can.
Most people, at some point in their lives will need to take out a loan and it’s really not as scary as many people think. By choosing your bank wisely and being realistic about your repayments, you could manage a loan easily and painlessly.
Buying a home is seen as a sign of maturity, a sign that you’re ready to move on to the next step of your life. Owning your own home has many benefits – you can do what you want with it (homes in a HOA being the exception), you have a place to call your own, and if you’re lucky, in time you can sell it for a tremendous profit. However, it’s one thing to want your own home and it’s another thing to be prepared for owning a home. Here are some things you should think about before you decide if you’re ready to buy a house or not:
In simplest terms, the more money you’re able to use as a down payment, the cheaper your home will be in the long run. This is because you won’t need to take out as big of a mortgage. Traditionally, you would want your down payment to be about 20% of the total cost of the house. For example, if the house you wanted was $200 000, you’d need a down payment of $40 000. Today, you can get by with a smaller down payment – but expect the terms of your mortgage to be more unfavorable.
Depending on where you live, if your mortgage down payment isn’t strong enough you may be required to pay mortgage insurance. This is intended to protect the lender in case of default. You can learn more about down payments and mortgages by clicking here.
When you think about your income, you need to think not only about how much you make, but how stable it is. For example, if you’re making $60 000 a year but work in an industry that could leave you unemployed at the drop of a hat, you need to seriously think about whether you’re willing to take on the risk of home ownership. Remember, once you’ve signed a mortgage, you’re on the hook for many, many years. Many times, a couple can work together to pay the mortgage until kids come along and one of them stays home. When you think about your income, you need to think not just months down the line, but decades.
Many people make the mistake of putting all of their savings into a down payment. However, if anything goes wrong, they end up in trouble. If you’re considering home ownership, you should have at least six months worth of living expenses saved up. That means if you regularly spend $2000 a month, you should have $12 000 saved not including your down payment.
Debt and Credit
Before giving out a loan, a bank will look at all of your credit, in addition to your employment history, to get a sense of whether they believe you can pay the mortgage back or not. If you have a large amount of debt or frequent credit issues, home ownership may not be for you. The more debt you take on, the more difficult it will be to climb out. In addition, if you have credit problems it may be difficult or impossible for you to obtain a mortgage.
Unless you’re planning to do renovations and flip your home, home ownership is a long-term commitment. Before you sign on a contract that keeps you in one spot for 15 to 20 years, you need to think about whether you’re ready to commit for that long. Do you have plans on living in a different city? Is there a realistic chance that your company may transfer you? Ultimately, only you can decide whether you’re ready for home ownership or not.
This article was written by Cristobal Ravazzano, a web strategist for http://loanscanada.ca/.
Some of the UK’s largest mobile networks are set to increase their roaming charges during November, with O2 looking to up the cost of making calls from outside the EU by 140%. Making calls from Canada and the US using a mobile phone on O2’s network will go up from 90 pence per minute to £1.10, and the charges for receiving calls in these countries will increase to 90 pence from the previous rate of just 39p. Texts are similarly affected, with costs for messaging across the pond reaching 40 pence – up from the previous rate of 25 pence.
Other countries have seen even bigger rises in the cost of a call from an O2 mobile – ringing from some parts of the world will set you back a massive £1.50 per minute. Many places will see a 40p increase in the cost of making a call, and 30p per minute added to the cost of receiving one. The cost of using data is mostly the same on many networks, but that’s not suggesting for a second that it was cheap to start with.
Some industry insiders are advising people to be careful when they’re headed outside of the EU with mobile phone in tow, as it’s astonishing how much the bills can rack up. This is especially true for business owners, as the amount of time spent on the phone can be draining at the best of times thanks to being passed from person to person – nobody wants to fork out £1.50 per minute they’re on hold.
A spokesperson for online company Make It Cheaper says it’s worth checking to make sure that your provider hasn’t put up their prices before making too many calls when you’re doing business abroad:
“Prior to visiting non-EU countries, UK business owners should always speak to their provider about signing up to additional price plans to ensure they do not incur excess roaming costs. However be warned that the potential lack of network service abroad may render the precaution of an extra premium unnecessary. For example, customers may pay in advance for a roaming data package, which will offer them a quota of data for a discounted rate. However, if the host network at their destination does not provide a minimum of a GPRS connection, the customer will not be able to use the data allowance at all. There’s pretty good chance that you will not be able to use data services in certain emerging markets so it’s equally important to find that out before you go as well.”
The number one reason people go to a doctor is for back pain, and it is expensive. In the U.S. the estimated annual Worker’s Compensation insurance cost for back pain is $20-$50 billion; out-of-pocket annual expenditure is $5-8 billion.
If you have dealt with large medical expenses getting your low back pain treated in the past, you can count on those expenses to recur because that is the nature of back pain; back problems slowly deteriorate over time. Or, if this is your first back pain episode and you don’t have insurance or the cash to take care of your problem, this cost cutting information is also helpful because it can be used to help an acute (recent) low back flare up as well a chronic (longstanding and recurrent) back problem.
1. Take better care of your back. Lose some weight, follow a low-impact exercise program, do low back stretches and quit smoking. Besides having less back pain you will save money on doctor bills all your life.
2. Do not go to the doctor immediately unless you have a high fever or bleeding with your back pain. For the first two weeks treat your problem conservatively at home. Doctors prescribe standard medical treatment of rest, ice and over-the-counter drugs, resulting in 94% of cases getting well in less than two weeks. Do all these things on your own and skip the office call. If pain persists after two weeks on this program, then go to the doctor.
3. Avoid the ER for common back complaints, if at all possible. ER costs are higher and billing errors are more frequent than in the doctor’s office.
4. Avoid the doctor’s office for common back complaints, if at all possible. For simple back strains or flare-ups of known arthritis complaints, consider using the walk-in clinic at your local drug store staffed with a physician’s assistant. The cost to be seen is the lowest you will find in your area, and you will not wait as long to be seen. If anything serious is detected you will be referred immediately for appropriate care.
5. Avoid expensive back massages. Try lying down on a tennis ball that puts pressure on the painful area of your low back, or have your spouse use the tip of the elbow to rub painful back muscles.
6. Be upfront about finances. Ask the doctor for a discount, not the receptionist who can’t cut your bill. If you are short on cash, or you have a sky-high insurance deductible, say so. A Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive study found 60% of patients who negotiated with their doctors received a discount.
7. Ask your doctor why a test is necessary. Maybe it can be done later or avoided if you respond to current treatment. Talk to your doctor about medical costs and explain if a procedure is more than you can afford.
8. Ask your doctor for free drug samples to see if the muscle relaxers or pain pills will actually work for you or if you have side effects, before buying the drug.
9. Read medical bills carefully. A staggering 80% of office and hospital bills contain some kind of error; of these errors, 80% work against the patient.
10. Read your insurance benefits booklet carefully to make sure your plan is paying all it should.
11. Switch to a high deductible insurance plan.
12. Use a discount club or a la carte insurance for specialized care. If you must get private health insurance, save money with plans that offer the specific benefits you need like acupuncture or chiropractic care for your back problem. Members save 50-60% on discounted rates after paying a $12-30 monthly membership fee.
13. Join the Farm Bureau for about $30-50 annually. You do not have to be a farmer to join, and you will receive many benefits like discounted group health insurance in many states. This is especially good for the self-employed.
14. Grab valuable insurance plan extra. Many health plans offer free 24/7 telephone access to RNs who can guide your low back treatment with professional advice.
15. Flex your spending muscles. If your employer provides a flexible spending account (FSA), use it. FSAs are tax-sheltered accounts that you fund at the beginning of the year to pay for all out-of-pocket medical costs.
16. Don’t accept rejection. If your insurance doesn’t pay for a service, appeal the decision or contact your state insurance commission.
17. Ask for a generic drug prescription to lower drug costs. Many pharmacies, including those at Target and Wal-Mart, offer $4 generics.
18. Compare drug costs with Costco or Sam’s Club, even if you are not a member.
19. Use the mail-order pharmacy of your insurance plan to get 90 days’ worth of prescriptions for two co-pays.
20. Follow all insurance policy rules. Get preapproval for all procedures and referrals to specialists for no surprises or fights later on.
21. Stay in your insurance company network of doctors for best savings. Also, double-check that your doctor is still in your insurance plan’s network since these things change.
22. Use the toll-free phone number to call your insurance company.
This is a guest post from Dr:Lumbago.com, a blog by a Doctor who write about natural back pain treatment.
More and more we are turning to online courier services to deliver everything from documents to freight containers overseas. The number of such services available makes finding a courier easy. Most will have fairly simple features on their homepage that allow you to arrange a collection with little more than a few quick clicks.
Each courier will also make promises about how reliable their services are. We all know, of course, that things can go awry – even with the most dependable companies.
So, where do we stand when something unexpected does happen?
Alongside promises of reliable delivery each courier will also offer a form of standard liability insurance. This will normally cover you for about £50 per shipment. You’ll often find that additional cover is available, usually charged at around 2.5% of the shipment’s total value.
As ever, there is small print involved and being aware of how this impacts you is crucial. Perhaps most important here is how your courier responds if a parcel is damaged. Obviously, when a parcel is sent internationally it is likely to be handled by many people, loaded and unloaded many times, before reaching its destination and there will always be a risk of damage occurring. All courier delivery services should offer clear guidance on how to properly package and protect your parcel against this- if these guidelines are not followed then any insurance you opt to take out, will not apply in the event of your parcel being damaged in transit.
If you do find yourself needing to make a claim – either for loss or damage – it is important to submit your claims as soon as you become aware of the problem. Most couriers will have a time limit for raising your claim with them, 14 calendar days from the date of delivery for example; raising your claim outside of this time period could render your claim rights void. So be sure to check how much time you have to raise this with your courier and be sure to let your receiver know too just in case. Always raise your claim in writing and insist on receiving a response in writing too.
Being familiar with a courier company’s Terms & Conditions will always give you a very clear of where you stand with them if something does go wrong. No courier service wants to lose or damage your parcel, but knowing that it can happen and what you can do about it should save you a lot of frustration.